Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley referred attorney Michael Avenatti and his client, Julie Swetnick, to the Justice Department for criminal investigation on Thursday in order to determine whether the two made false statements to Congress during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, when Swetnick brought forward uncorroborated claims of sexual misconduct against the nominee.

In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Grassley wrote that Swetnick and Avenatti had made materially false statements during the Judiciary Committee’s investigation of allegations against Kavanaugh.

“Committee investigations in support of the judicial nomination process are an essential part of the Committee’s constitutional role,” Grassley wrote in his letter. “The Committee is grateful to citizens who come forward with relevant information in good faith, even if they are not one hundred percent sure about what they know. But when individuals intentionally mislead the Committee, they divert Committee resources during time-sensitive investigations and materially impede our work. Such acts are not only unfair; they are potentially illegal.”

The Judiciary Committee had concluded its hearings with Brett Kavanaugh when it was revealed that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had sent a letter in July claiming that Kavanaugh had assaulted her during a social gathering in high school. Later, college classmate Deborah Ramirez said he drunkenly exposed himself to her during a dorm party. Swetnick, for her part, wrote in a sworn statement that she had gone to “well over ten house parties” in the Washington, D.C., area in the early 1980s, some of which Kavanaugh attended. “I became aware of efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to ‘spike’ the ‘punch’ at house parties I attended with drugs and/or grain alcohol so as to cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say ‘No,’” she wrote. Kavanaugh denied all of the claims.

Grassley said Thursday that Swetnick’s later statements to the media contradicted her story and noted the timing of her claim was suspect.

“While many of those individuals have provided the Committee information in good faith, it unfortunately appears some have not,” Grassley said in his letter on Thursday. “In short, it appears Ms. Swetnick has a substantial history of credibility issues. When viewed in light of the fact there is no credible evidence she ever knew Judge Kavanaugh, and the fact she has contradicted key aspects of her allegations against him, this lends credence to the likelihood that she made materially false statements to the Committee” in violation of the law, the Iowa Republican said.

Avenatti, naturally, responded to Grassley’s letter on Twitter.

Avenatti first shared Swetnick’s story in a vague tweet in September after the New Yorker reported Ramirez’s claims, saying that a teenage Kavanaugh had been involved in drugging women who were later gang-raped at parties. Avenatti did not provide information about who his client was in the initial tweet, and he did not share any corroborating evidence for the explosive allegation. Three days later, after going back and forth with Senate Judiciary staff, Avenatti revealed Swetnick, 55, was his client.

Grassley said in his letter on Thursday that committee staff had investigated Swetnick’s story, questioning Kavanaugh twice and contacting Swetnick's former associates. Grassley noted that staff “sought to interview Ms. Swetnick, but Mr. Avenatti refused.” Kavanaugh was confirmed 50-48 by Senate Republicans on October 6, afterFord testified before the Judiciary Committee and the FBI completed a supplemental background check of the nominee.

“When charlatans make false claims to the Committee—claims that may earn them short-term media exposure and financial gain, but which hinder the Committee’s ability to do its job—there should be consequences,” he said.